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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 November, 2004, 15:59 GMT
Russia claim first Fed Cup title
Anastasia Myskina
Russia won the Fed Cup for the first time with a dramatic 3-2 win over France in Moscow.

The match came down to the decisive doubles rubber, which proved to be a nerve-wracking affair.

Anastasia Myskina and Vera Zvonareva finally saw off Emilie Loit and Marion Bartoli 7-6 7-5 to clinch the title.

Myskina had earlier put Russia 2-1 up with a win over Nathalie Dechy, before Tatiana Golovin beat Svetlana Kuznetsova to level for France.

The tie was surprisingly locked at 1-1 after Saturday's singles, but Myskina took the favourites to within sight of victory when she beat Dechy 6-3 6-4 in the third rubber.

However, Golovin then produced another upset to beat US Open champion Kuznetsova 6-4 6-1 and draw France level at 2-2.

We had plenty of chances to win the first set but I don't know if it was a case of nerves
Emily Loit

With the match now hanging on the doubles, Russia brought in the unbeaten Myskina in place of Elena Likhovtseva to partner Zvonareva in the doubles.

French captain Guy Forget stuck with Emilie Loit and Marion Bartoli and the pair pushed the Russians all the way.

In a match littered with breaks of serve, Myskina was broken when serving for the match.

France could not capitalise though and Loit was immediately broken to love before Zvonareva held her nerve to serve out the match, sparking wild celebrations in the Krylatskoe Ice Stadium.

Myskina said the victory was more satisfying than her French Open win in Paris earlier this year.

"Here I have all my friends around me, and I'm definitely more happy right now. Here it is for my team, and for my country."

Russia's Fed Cup captain Shamil Tarpishchev becomes only the third person to lead his country to both Fed and Davis Cup titles, matching the feat of two Frenchmen, Yannick Noah and Guy Forget.

Two years ago Tarpishchev guided Russia to their first Davis Cup crown when they beat Forget's France 3-2 in a dramatic final in Paris.

"It's hard to measure happiness so I don't know which of the two wins is more satisfying, but definitely this one was a lot more stressful," he said.

Russia/France close in on final
24 Nov 04 |  Tennis
France win Fed Cup
23 Nov 03 |  Tennis

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